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Backstage at the Emmys

What does this evening mean? Why did "The Sopranos" capture the heart of the public and the critics?
“I don't know the answer to that. I’ve been asked many times. I have to assume it's because people deeply identify with the characters. To get this award, obviously, it felt fantastic. The best part of it was the huge standing ovation that our cast got. That was really fitting."
-David Chase

“It is bittersweet for us. It’s been the joy of all our careers. The decade that we've spent together has been the most glorious part of our show business careers. It’s been a beautiful time and we're gonna remember it really fondly forever."
-Brad Grey, on "The Sopranos" coming to an end


"There's a certain irony that this [show] was developed for the Fox network, but they didn't keep it. They let it go to HBO. But there you can do things you couldn't at Fox. ... People say it's a seminal show, I don't think we've had that much of an impact. Maybe it's just the tone, I don't know. That pilot that I wrote for Fox, nobody got killed, there was no murder in it. And then I realized that was just stupid.”
-David Chase


Any further discussion of a "Sopranos" movie? “He [Grey] talks about it all the time! There isn't any serious discussion about that. But ya know, somebody could have a great idea.”
-David Chase


"The Emmy won't hurt us, and it certainly might help us. I have friends who worked on ‘Arrested Development,’ so I know how hard it can be."
-Tina Fey

"My time at 'Saturday Night Live' was the most exciting time in my life, and this show wouldn't have been possible if I hadn't done that."
-Tina Fey

"[The Emmy] means a lot to us. Because we shoot in New York and we're not the highest-rated show, I feel a lot of times like we're not really on TV. So I feel like it legitimizes us a little bit."
-Tina Fey

“[Host Ryan Seacrest] did the pre-show, then he did the show, then he ran to the parking lot to do a post-show, then he's on the morning show. I think he's on TV way too much! He’s insane!"
-Conan O'Brien

You knew OJ was in jail, right? “I just heard, I think Mary Hart told me. It's a beautiful way to get your news, but a bit strange. And then I went to that guy from ‘Extra’ to confirm. I haven't read a newspaper in 11 years, I talk to those people. ... My writers are on the red eye back to New York thinking about OJ and what to do.”
-Conan O'Brien


“I really thought it could have been anybody but me.
I tend to live in kind of a vacuum, I’m never aware of anyone watching the show except my friends and family.”
-James Spader


This has been called the year of the woman in TV. Do you find that patronizing? “No, I don't, but I don't listen to that talk. You guys are the only ones that are saying that. All the actors I know are simply working or trying to find the right part. We don't talk about things like that.”
-Sally Field


"All I know is that I’m very lucky to be a part of this show, I don't see this kind of character examined anywhere the way she is except on TV, but I don't know where else you could do it. It’s certainly a blessing and a great opportunity for me to explore myself as an actor in this part of my life."
-Sally Field


"I wasn't interested at all in TV. I was sort of heading toward theater, literally, and Ken Olin and Robbie Baitz called and said, 'Please, can we just talk to you?' And I respect them a lot, and I said yes, I wasn't doing anything else that afternoon.”
-Sally Field on how she got the part in "Brothers & Sisters"


How did you feel when you were asked to return to host the Oscars? “Whatever emotional hole I had in my soul vanished at that moment, and I was in fact complete, so that's why I decided to do it.
"I’ll probably lay off the 'Brokeback Mountain stuff.' I don't know if that will get nominated again -- I hope it does, it was a rich source of material.
"For me [coming to Hollywood] is like visiting Oz for a week, such a surreal experience that I don't know where else I could attain that.”
-Jon Stewart

"On Oct. 15 we're launching Current.com. We have a fantastic site now called Current.tv, a way to connect with young people, content creators, and then we put it on real TV in 53 million homes. But Current.com is the state of the art, and that's our next project."
-Al Gore

"Joel Hyatt and I have tried to follow a guiding principal that if we can be truly independent and have absolute integrity to the best of our ability to keep to the straight and narrow, and then open up this network so that young people can contribute, now that the technology has made it possible for them to participate, that is what we have been aiming for."
-Al Gore

"His guiding light is trying to do the right thing regardless of the cost of doing that."
-Current partner Joel Hyatt on Al Gore

Examining the lighting in the backstage press room, "I think they're using LEDs in here. I know that sounds like a geek or a wonk, but I think they're one step ahead of compact flourescents -- no kidding! I want to thank the Emmys for going green, and for moving this category into prime time."
-Al Gore

“It was a labor of love and a labor of conscience.”
-Dick Wolf on producing "Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee"


“I started as a stage actor, but it's been many a year since I did ‘American Buffalo’ on Broadway -- that was one of my favorite parts. I''m working with Alan Geoffrion, who wrote this lovely script, on a film about the whole immigration thing on the border, ‘La Linea,’ and it's pretty complex down there. Nobody has an answer. And then we sold a long-term series, hopefully like 'The Sopranos' or something like that, to AMC -- it's about the Pony Express. That was a very interesting time in our history. They used to put up signs that said, ‘Riders under 21 wanted, orphans preferred.’”
-Robert Duvall


“This man is the best director I’ve ever had.”
-Tony Bennett on Rob Marshall


"I like the way you say ‘grow’ when really you mean ‘grow older.’ ["Prime Suspect"] was an incredible opportunity for me to be honest about what was happening with me, and I think that's an incredibly rare thing on TV, and I was very lucky."
-Helen Mirren


“I don't believe in astrology, but I’d be very curious to see what my horoscope said about this year; ‘disappointing,’ probably.”
-an ironic Helen Mirren on her awards-filled year


“The queen and I haven't hooked up yet, although she did very graciously invite me to dinner. But I was working and couldn’t go. I felt very bad, mortified that I couldn't go.”
-Helen Mirren


“I was surprised by the rancor [toward the finale of "The Sopranos"], but I think it's calmed down now, and people are more accepting than when they were pounding on their TV sets.”
-writer Andy Taylor

"We never really asked anybody [to host the show], we just hinted, would you be available..."
-ATAS Chairman-CEO Dick Askin


“I think [host Ryan Seacrest is] doing great. He’s got a lot of energy, and he doesn't put himself in a situation he's not comfortable with.”
-Dick Askin, halfway through the show


What's going to happen with the WGA talks?
"I don't think anybody at this point has a clue. Networks have been stocking up on product, the writers have ratcheted up some of their language. But at the end of the day, a strike isn't good for anybody, so I’m hopeful it will get resolved before we get to that point. There's a lot of smart people on both sides, a lot of issues on the table, but there hasn’t been any cogent discussion yet, and I’m hoping there will be.”
-Dick Askin


“The Emmys are designed to be entertaining. It's in the tradition to have some fun with television, we're not curing cancer here. I thought there were some funny bits [in the animated show opener]. We’re on Fox, and I thought it was appropriate for Fox.”
-Dick Askin


“The highlight of the show so far from my perspective was the tribute to 'The Sopranos.’”
-Dick Askin


"If you play a monster without making him human, then I don’t think it’s interesting."
-Jeremy Piven, “Entourage”


"Long-form television is dead."
-LeVar Burton (This year the miniseries category had only three entries.)

What would the late Alex Haley say of the salute to "Roots"?
“The one wish we all has was that he were here to see what he has done for us, not just a race of people, but the whole world. He piqued the interest of humanity to looking into its roots.”
-Cicely Tyson

Why do you think Westerns resonate? “Like Bobby [Duvall] has said, it's uniquely American. The English have Shakespeare, the Japanese have great samurai melodramatic romance war kind of pictures. It's actually a very narrow sliver of American history that has been canonized. It's a unique period in our history, like no other.”
-Thomas Haden Church

“This thing is so pointy, it's like a barbecue fork.”
-Thomas Haden Church of his Emmy

“It's nice to know there's a bunch of people cheering for me back in Texas,” where he has a ranch.
-Thomas Haden Church


In this crazy business, what keeps you sane? "The hovering specter of poverty."
- Terry O'Quinn, "Lost"

"I think the writers know what's gonna happen, but I don't, nobody else does."
- Terry O'Quinn, "Lost"

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